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Inexpensive 3D cad for guitar design?

Johnny Foreigner

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Hey everyone

i'm back on PG after a looong hiatus due to relocation, career change, more relocation, etc

i finished my last guitar build some five years ago and no longer have the time, space or equipment to do anymore building. 

But I'd like to dip my toe back in by doing a little designing in 3D. 

So apologies as I'm sure this has been covered extensively elsewhere on the forum (I just can't find it), but what is the current thinking on inexpensive 3D cad software that is going for guitar design work and has a good onward path to cam and Cnc?


i've used alibre in the past but found its file formats fairly proprietary and difficult to pass to other platforms. I am willing to spend money on software but not crazy money given this is very much an idle hobby at this stage . 


Any thoughts gratefully received. 

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On 10/27/2016 at 11:22 AM, Johnny Foreigner said:

Fusion 360 looks great and I've started dabbling.

Any good tutorials around online for it, particularly covering sketching using splines?

With the Fusion splines I've had the best luck using too many points initially to get the boundaries right and then subtracting and adjusting them to match the curve properly.

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  • 1 month later...

Update a month and a bit in: loving fusion360 and really starting to get the hang of it, which is incredible.

One quick question for those of you more experienced than I am;

I read that material options and appearance options are different because material options is all about mass calculation. Which got me thinking....

If Fusion 360 knows what material you're going to build out of, is there any way to have it calculate how a guitar will hang? Particularly, to calculate if neck-dive will be an issue.

If it can, that would be amazing....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, okay. It's been a couple of months and I have been having ENORMOUS fun learning Fusion360 and finishing up my first design in the program.

This is actually more of a reverse engineering of the first guitar I built back in 2010, with some slightly modifications and improvements made.

I'm really happy with how this came out, and now I need to start figuring out the CAM side of the software and see how feasible it is for me to generate a complete set of G-code that could, in theory, mean I could build 90% of this guitar on a CNC.

Any feedback on the design gratefully received, and any thoughts/experience on using fusion360 for CAM likewise.











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  • 3 years later...

thanx for coming back and telling the tale!


the design is lovely! so bright and cheerful, and with a statement.

i love the PRS like curves on the body, and the headstock shape.


for feedback - if i'd change anything in the design is to refine the flow of the contour, by altering the input plug triangle dig to make its long edge (parallel to the plug) curved inwards a little, so it continues naturally along the body outer edge.

i hope this makes sense.


awesome guitar - do you still have the one you built?

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